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Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi All,


I was hoping someone could enlighten me to the reason behind googles policy change on showing Trustpilot reviews on adwords advertisements.


For those who are not aware in late August 2016 google changed their policy on showing trustpilot reviews on ads. See below message from Trustpilot support regarding this.


"We have fresh news about this issue, which is also affecting many other companies across all review platforms.


Late August Google released a new set of guidelines on Google Seller Ratings. The main change is that the required number of reviews over the last 12 months changed from 30 to 150 reviews. We have also noted that Google also made other changes to their criteria for publishing reviews to Seller Ratings. We have observed that non-verified reviews are no longer included in Google Seller Ratings. Verified reviews are the result of a verified invitation process, and the non-verified are therefore the organic ones." 


So they have changed increased the required number of reviews... Fair enough.


However I deem the second change to be wholly unfair and nonsensical when you consider what a 'Verified Order' actually is and how these differ from the 'Organic reviews'. You may assume that a verified order has been through a more stringent verification process from Trustpilot and so is more likely to be from a 'real customer' than an organic review, when in fact it is exactly the opposite.


To figure out exactly what the difference between the 'organic reviews' and 'verified orders' was I discussed this with Trustpilot support. The chat transcript is shown at the bottom of this post.


In short the main points from the conversation are:

  • The only way to get a verified review on Trustpilot is to have a paid account (We have been quoted £150 per month for this). Verified reviews are not possible with unpaid accounts.
  • All reviews from unpaid accounts class as 'Organic Reviews' which google does not count.
  • Trust Pilots verification process for 'organic' & 'verified' reviews is exactly the same
  • For 'organic reviews' the customer must sign up to trust pilot, entering their personal information. Once they have left a review they must verify their email address before the review is shown.
  • For 'Verified' reviews the customer does not have to sign up to trust pilot, the company requesting the review enters the enters some personal information on behalf of the client (not as much information as is required to register a new account(This is the 'verified invitation process')) and the client does not have to verify their email address.

It seems wholly unfair to penalise small and medium sized businesses that spend the majority of their marketing budget on Adwords and simply can not afford to pay up to and above £150 per month for a feature which in my eyes makes it easier to falsify reviews. Businesses that have been working tirelessly to convince their clients to go out of their way to sign up for TrustPilot themselves, which is only possible is by providing exceptional service and aftercare, are being penalised for not having a paid account.


I would like to know if anyone knows of any other reasons for this change and the main consensus on this.


I would also like to appeal to google to rethink this policy change.


Chat Transcript:

Chat started on 22 Sep 2016, 07:28 PM (GMT+0)


*** Visitor 4238272 joined the chat ***


Matthew Atkinson: Hi, Please confirm how we go about getting 'Verified Reviews' rather than normal reviews


*** Michael joined the chat ***


Michael: Hi Matthew


Michael: thanks for reaching out to us


Matthew Atkinson: Hi


Michael: Verified orders come from any invitations that you send via your Trustpilot account


Matthew Atkinson: how do I send these from my account?


Michael: so if you use our Invitations tab and send out invitations manually or automatically (Automatic Feedback Service)




Matthew Atkinson: Do I need a paid accoutn in order to do this?


Michael: yes, this is one of the features of our upgraded accounts


Matthew Atkinson: So it is not possible to get a verified order without a paid trustpilot account


Michael: that's correct - if you send a customer to your public page, it will count as an organic review (non-verified)


Matthew Atkinson: thanks for confirming that


Matthew Atkinson: whilst your hear please can you confirm what extra verification steps are taken in order to classify these as 'verified orders'


Matthew Atkinson: *here


Michael: they count as verified orders because they are sent by you - this is done when you provide us with the following customer data: customer email, customer name, and a reference number (ie. order ID)


Matthew Atkinson: does the customer need to sign up?


Michael: we also have a brief article on 'verified orders' here:


Michael: if you send an invitation via your business account, then the customer will not need to create an account


Michael: an account will automatically be created for them


Michael: using the email address that you provided


Matthew Atkinson: so they are only verified by the company sending the request? they are not in anyway verified by trustpilot?


Michael: all the company information is coming from you, so we do not require further verification


Matthew Atkinson: does this not make the verified orders easier to fake?


Michael: our Compliance team still monitors all reviews, using software to double-check email addresses, review content, IP addresses, etc


Matthew Atkinson: I mean, if trust pilot take the information given by the company as gospel


Michael: if a review is detected by the our Compliance team, the reviewer will need to provide proof of purchase


Matthew Atkinson: Ok,thanks for your time. I think I have all of the information I require


Michael: you're welcome Matthew!


Michael: if you have any other questions, please feel free to reach back out to us anytime


Michael: have a nice rest of your day


Matthew Atkinson: sorry


Matthew Atkinson: one last thing


Michael: no worries!


Matthew Atkinson: a verified order is checked in the same way as all other reviews by your compliance team? that's right yeah?


Michael: yes, that's correct


Matthew Atkinson: Thanks


*** Matthew Atkinson has rated the chat Good ***


Michael: No problem


*** Michael left the chat ***


*** Matthew Atkinson left the chat ***

3 Expert replyverified_user

Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

@Matthew A;

In terms of Google relying on 3party   services to grade seller rating I don't think there has been any change in policy. For quite a long time Google relies on several seller rating  providers (TrustPilot among them) to rank the quality of a service promoted. Those services do indeed charge a fee.

Read more:



Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

With regards to the number of reviews needed there has definitely been a policy change from 30 to 150 over a 12 month period, this was verified by google adwords support when we were discussing why the reviews were no longer showing on our ads a number of weeks ago.


With regards to only 'Verified Orders' I currently only have TrustPilots word for this as we have been working to increase the number of reviews up to 150 (we are currently at about 140 in the past 12 months on TrustPilot). We should reach the 150 mark in the next week or two so we will then be able to see if these are being counted.


I understand that these sites offer paid features however they also allow customers to leave reviews for sites free of charge. If what TrustPilot are advising is correct, "We have observed that non-verified reviews are no longer included in Google Seller Ratings",Google are clearly (maybe unintentionally) penalising small and medium sized companies that can not afford paid accounts, or see more value in 'Organic' reviews that are clearly verified more stringently.



Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

In addition to the above comments this would also surely offer a much less accurate representation of the true seller ratings. A 'verified invitation process' is actioned by the company asking for a review in order for the review to become 'verified'. Why would a company invite a customer to leave a verified review if the were already aware that the customer was unhappy with the service received. A company can simply filter out customers that report a less than satisfactory service and invite only those who report a good service to leave a 'verified' review.


Are you aware of how we can clarify the above points with Google directly?


Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

@Matthew A

This is a long standing position by many sites, not to consider non-verified reviews, since they are open to manipulations. You would agree with this stand - wouldn't you?

 Collecting verified reviews, and keep them on record does cost money. I have had clients who used TrustPilot or similar services and they were quite happy. The revenue generated by publishing and promoting a seller rating was higher than the cost.


Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star

I agree with Moshe.


Matthew, for your context, Google doesn't even accept reviews people leave via Google for Seller Ratings, because they are not verified. So they are at least consistent with their standards.


I definitely agree with you that the increase from 30 to 150 minimum required reviews is annoying. It's something we've talked about with a lot of our clients, many of whom use Shopper Approved (which tends to have a much higher review rate than TrustPilot, by the way).





Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 7
Rising Star

This appears to be a policy change concerning how free accounts work at TrustPilot.  I have a client that has only had a free account with Trustpilot - they had seller rating appear in the past, but they are now gone.  Free Trustpilot review counts and links were also appearing in "Reviews from the web" with a link to the reviews for organic search - these seem to be gone this morning as well.  They still appear for paid accounts.


Director of Marketing | Nehmedia | Partner Profile
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author Matthew A
October 2016

Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Matthew,


Thanks so much for this post. Your comments about verified customers explains why we were no longer getting our seller rating from Google. It's definitely changed.


In regards to it being unfair for small businesses, I suggest that you look at other review websites. I also run a small business and I found a review partner that is far cheaper than Trust Pilot, yet offers a really good service. We have our stars back now!


There's a list of providers here:


You'll probably need to pay someone for the service, but it's well worth it to get those stars on your ads, especially now that it's so much harder to achieve!


Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have spotted another issue with the Trustpilot verification process.  I have a competitor who has their own "research and analytics company" I have caught their IP addresses posting fake negative reviews about my company, and myself and my staff personally, they also secured a High Court Injunction against me in the past using the same system of posting in my name and my companies name, the HCI was subsequently dropped thanks to the help of Mark Lewis (superlayer). Every year since my competitor has been putting up fake positive reviews on Trustpilot and using the verification systems weaknesses and identification of owners of websites to get many real negative reviews from paying consumers and businesses removed.


But the real problem for me is the fake positive reviews made in their customers names which some customers have flagged.


Trustpilot is investigating but it tells me that if a £multimillion company can send £250,000 to a Thailand based (web development / google partner) proven to post fake reviews. How do you get Google to investigate a "google partner"

Googles Policy Change on Showing Trustpilot Reviews

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 10
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆

This is a business issue which you may want to take up with Google.


Keep in mind, this forum is a mostly peer-to-peer support community and we are volunteers; not Google.  So we cannot speak for or take action for Google.


Fake reviews are a business issue which you might want to bring to Google's attention by filing a feedback statement online.  Here is a link: